Learning how to massage yourself at home with these 6 self-massage tools can bring massive benefits to the health of your back while also saving you a packet.
Everyone loves a nice massage right?
And getting massages regularly is a great way of keeping your back muscles loose, healthy and pain-free.
As by working out painful muscle knots and kinks you help your body to release trapped waste and toxins.
While at the same time delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to damaged muscles and tissues which helps them to repair and heal.
However the big problem for most of us is that getting a massage can be super expensive.
And with money tight in many households this can be a 'luxury' you can ill-afford.
So it gets pushed down to the bottom of your list of priorities right?
I know it does for me.
However there is a way for you to still be able to reap the benefits of getting regular massages at a fraction of the cost.
And that is by learning how to massage yourself at home.
Now when you're talking about massaging your back this doesn't sound easy!
But don't worry, you don't need to have extendable arms like Inspector Gadget to be able to do this.
Because there are plenty of self-massage tools available that have been designed especially to make it easy for you.
And I'll show the very best of them in this article.
Why Regularly Massaging Your Back is so Important
Getting a back massage doesn't just feel great.
It is also fantastic for getting rid of painful and tight kinks and knots that can leave you feeling stiff and sore throughout the day.
And this makes it a great way of getting rid of your back pain.
Because a lot of the time it is these tight muscle knots that are the major cause of people's back pain.
Muscle knots are small areas of tight and contracted muscle that can form and lead to pain, inflammation and irritation.
They cause these problems because when your muscles become contracted they cut themselves off from their own blood supply.
And this is a big problem because:
- Your body can't deliver the oxygen and nutrients to your damaged muscles that they need to repair and heal.
- Waste and toxins become trapped and build up within the damaged muscles causing them to become even more damaged.
And both of these things will only result in further muscle tightness and pain.
However the magic of massage is that when you stimulate these muscle knots through massaging them it encourages them to release.
And this will help to:
- Increase the blood flow to areas of damaged muscles again which will deliver the oxygen and nutrients they urgently need.
- Unblock the pathways that allows trapped waste and toxins to be flushed away from the damaged area.
By doing this you'll get relief from pain, tightness and tension within your muscles.
And your back will be much happier and healthier as a result.
And the great news is you can feel all of these benefits by learning how to self-massage your own back too.
Other Benefits of Self-Massage
Getting into the habit of regularly self-massaging your body is great and not just for your back.
For it can also bring your a multitude of additional health benefits such as:
- It'll make you feel more relaxed both in body and mind and will calm your nervous system.
- This will make you less prone to mental and emotional problems such as depression, stress and anxiety.
- It will improve the quality of your sleep which is when your body regenerates and heals itself.
- Your range of motion and flexibility will improve allowing you to stay active and do more physically.
- And you'll have more energy as self-massage will open up blocked energy channels and pathways.
- It'll keep your body balanced and stable which will help to prevent muscle knots from returning.
- It will improve your blood circulation.
- And help to detoxify the body by flushing out trapped waste and toxins.
- While reducing your blood pressure.
- It also boosts your immune system.
- Helps you avoid and get rid of headaches.
- And releases endorphins which are the body's natural painkiller.
- It'll also improve your concentration levels so you'll be more productive too.
Quite a list of potential benefits!
Which are all great reasons to learn how to self-massage on top of reducing your back pain (if I hadn't convinced you already).
The Best Self-Massage Tools and Methods
Ok so you want to try self-massage for yourself but you're not sure how to go about it?
Don't worry I've got you covered.
Obviously your back is the one part of your body that you are going to struggle to reach and massage with your own hands.
So to get around this problem there are a variety of self-massage tools that can get right into your tight back muscles.
I'll show you my favourite methods and explain how each one works along with a video to show you.
And I'll also recommend a great self-massage tool so you can try it for yourself.
So I'll start this list off with foam rollers.
Foam rollers are one of the best ways to get right into hard to reach muscle knots.
The idea is to lay your back down on the foam roller then slowly roll your body up and down as you lie on it.
As you do this your body weight will push against the firm ridges of the roller getting deep into your tight muscles.
When you feel like you've hit your pain spot stop rolling and just relax down on it for between 30-60 seconds.
This will work wonders as the pressure will stimulate your knots and encourage them to release.
And this gives you a deeply satisfying sensation as the muscle spasms and lets go.
This makes foam rollers a great tool for self-massaging at home and the one I'd recommend you get for this is the TriggerPoint Grid Foam Roller.
This model is great as it is firm and textured so it can get right into the spots that may be hard to reach otherwise.
It's also the one most commonly used by physical therapists and pro athletes to help them recover from injuries and intense physical activity.
So you are guaranteed a quality product with this one and to see it in action take a look at the video below.
Massage canes have been on the market for a couple of decades now and are a popular choice among physical therapists and health and fitness coaches for working out tight muscle knots.
You've probably seen them before and to be honest they can look a bit menacing to the uninitiated!
How the hell do you use that? I thought that too at first!
But don't worry because they are extremely safe and easy to use.
They come in an S-shape and have rounded knobs along with handles at various points around them.
These knobs are spaced out at intervals and are designed to be pressed into your muscle knots.
So the idea is to manoeuvre the cane into a position where one of the nobs is pressing on your muscle knot, then use the handle to pull it forward so it is applying pressure to the knot.
The good thing is that you can vary the pressure of this depending on how hard you pull forward, so you can get it just right for you.
By keeping this pressure on for a couple of minutes you will eventually feel the muscle knot begin to spasm and release.
This makes a massage cane a great self-massage tool to have at home as you can do this everytime your muscles are feeling tight and painful.
And the best one on the market in my opinion is the Body Back Buddy Self-Massage Cane.
This one has sold over a million units around the world and there's a good reason why.
Because it comes with 11 therapeutic knobs that ensure you can reach every kink and knot in your back, neck and shoulders.
And there are a mixture of both dull and pointed knobs, dull for a broad massage and pointed when you need to penetrate deeper.
So if you want to try a massage cane this is the one to go for.
Using massage balls to release tight muscle knots works in a similar way to foam rolling.
First you place the ball between your back (close to the painful area) and either the wall or the floor.
Then you roll your body over it until it hits the perfect spot.
When you feel like you've found it stop and relax your body weight down onto the ball and let gravity do the rest.
This will then stimulate and work the muscle knot which encourages it to release and let go.
And this feeling can be so satisfying!
It can happen within 30 seconds or it might take a few minutes.
However it can give you a much more targeted and intense experience than using a foam roller.
This is because you can manoeuvre the ball into the perfect position to really penetrate into the muscle knot.
And a good ball that will do the trick is the TriggerPoint MBX Ball.
This one is extra firm so can get deep into your tissues and knots.
But if you don't want to buy a massage ball you probably have a small ball at home that can do the job almost as well.
Using things like tennis and lacrosse balls will give you similar results and you can see how to do this below:
Acupressure mats may seem like a strange concept at first.
This is because they are based on being like a modern day 'bed of nails'.
Now real life bed of nails have been used for centuries as an ancient cure for back pain, however thankfully acupressure mats are a lot less intimidating!
They are mats made up of thousands of tiny plastic needles that work along the same lines as acupunture.
That is that the body has various acupressure points that can become blocked and when this happens muscles become tight and contracted.
However by laying your body weight down on the mat the plastic needles are able to stimulate these acupressure points.
And by doing so can open up blocked pathways that increases blood flow and causes painful muscle knots to release.
They are also a great way to relax your body in general (once you get over the initial weird sensation).
And a great one to go for is the Nayoya Acupressure Mat.
This mat is lightweight and portable so you can take it with you anywhere (great for holidays and travelling).
And it also comes with a free acupressure pillow so you can relax and release tense muscles in your neck and shoulders too.
Take a look for yourself in the video below:
For the final two self-massage tools I'm going to move away from the manual ones and onto electrical ones.
And first up is an electrical massage cushion.
These cushions come with electrical rotating nodes which will deliver a massage to your back as you rest against them.
They are designed to be used while sitting and are great to use whether you are in your car, office or at home.
To use them you attach the cushion to the chair you are sitting in using the straps so that it is pressing against the area of your muscle knot as you sit back against it.
Then you relax and allow the electrical rotating nodes to massage and knead your muscles.
This is great not just for releasing muscle knots but also for helping you to relax.
And a great cushion to try is the Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager.
This one comes with 4 rotating massage nodes that change direction every 60 seconds to give you a thorough massage.
And it works on giving you a shiatsu massage which is great for our backs.
Like acupressure mats, shiatsu massage works on the principle of reliving pain and tension by stimulating the body's acupressure points.
By doing this pathways are opened which allow blood, energy and oxygen to flow freely.
This will help your muscle knots to release in no time.
And an added bonus of the Zyllion massage pillow is that it has an option to apply heat to your back as the same time as the rotating nodes are delivering a massage.
Which will help your muscles to relax even further and more deeply.
Last but by no means least in this list of self-massage tools are TENS units.
TENS units are great for relieving pain and muscle tightness caused by muscle knots.
They do this by sending satisfying and tingling electrical impulses into your body through pads which you attach to your area of tightness.
These impulses stimulate and massage the nerves and muscles in the area of your knot which increases blood flow to it and encourages it to relax and release.
And in addition to this, TENS units are also a great tool to help you manage pain.
This is because:
- Stimulating your nerves with the electrical impulses overrides the body's pain signals to your brain, distracting it and giving you some relief.
- This stimulation also releases endorphins which are the body's natural painkiller.
So a win-win!
And if you want to find a great TENS unit look no further than the HealthmateForever YK15RC TENS Unit.
This one is great because it has so many different levels and options.
There are 20 different intensity settings so you can adjust the strength of the electrical impulses so they are exactly right for you to be comfortable.
And there are 15 preset programs installed so it's a doddle to use straight out of the box.
It also comes with a dual output function which means you can work on self-massaging muscle knots in two different areas of your back at the same time.
All in all this one's a winner for me.
Regular massages are great and are a fantastic way to keep the muscles in your back loose and healthy.
However they can be an expensive treatment in the long run and that may make them an unrealistic option for most of us.
But you can still reap the benefits of getting regular massages by learning how to self-massage at home instead.
This will help to free up tight muscle knots and eliminate your back pain whilst also saving you money.
So try out a couple of the self-massage tools and techniques recommended in this article and see which works best for you.
Once you get into the habit of regular self-massages you'll never want to to stop.
And you can still treat yourself to a professional massage once in a while without worrying about the cost.
So learn how to relax both body and mind in the comfort of your own home!
Resources used in researching this article: